Connor McDavid, wearing the surprisingly bold Edmonton Oiler travelling suit.
Connor McDavid, wearing the surprisingly bold Edmonton Oiler travelling suit.

OMG! OMG! OMG! Connor McDavid is an Oiler! Connor McDavid is an Oiler! Connor McDavid is an Oiler!

Sigh. Poor Connor. The hopes of an entire city are apparently resting on his muscled shoulders.

This city’s infatuation with the Edmonton Oilers reached a crescendo not seen since the Oilers last made the Stanley Cup finals a decade ago when the team drafted Connor McDavid — a “generational player”, so the experts say — at the NHL entry draft. “He’s Ours”, the Edmonton Journal gushed. Thousands paid to watch the draft on TV at Rexall, celebrating wildly when his name was announced. One fan, quoted in the Journal, said he would “remember this moment for the rest of my life”. McDavid jerseys were flying off the shelves. Local TV stations sent reporters to Florida (tough gig) to cover the coronation. And all of this BEFORE he even plays his first game. OK, Edmonton, listen up. I hope Connor McDavid becomes a big star. I hope he scores a thousand goals and leads the Oilers to Stanley Cup glory again and again. I hope he’s everything that he’s hyped to be, and more. But seriously, people … chill. He’s one kid, one professional hockey player who will make more money playing hockey in one season than you will in a lifetime. Can we all just remember one thing? It’s just hockey.

Meanwhile, in the real world, a day of global terror attacks struck France, Tunisia, and Kuwait on Friday, killing at least 80 people. Some of the victims were at prayer at a mosque in Kuwait (they were Muslim, but the wrong kind of Muslim), others were dressed in swim trunks at the beach (tourists mowed down by machine gun fire on the beach in Tunisia), one was beheaded for the crime of being in the wrong place at the wrong time (in France, where the killers apparently tried to blow up a chemical factory). Enjoy your summer, folks!

It was a big week in the Excited States of America. This week, President Barack Obama went on a podcast by comedian Marc Maron and, in a discussion on race and the Charleston shooting, used what is now invariably referred to as ‘the N-word’. Even the Daily Beast, an online news service, couldn’t bring itself to even print the dreaded N-word. It was amazing to watch the news media twist itself into knots to not use a word that was used by the President of the United States. On CNN, host Don Lemon held up a sign with “nigger” printed on it — but CNN blurred out everything but the ‘N’. If a positive can be found in the horrible killings in Charleston, it is that the Confederate flag — the symbol of the Civil War, slavery-loving south — is falling from statehouses across the south. And on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the U.S., as the most important, most powerful country in the world joined the 21st century. The decision was not, shall we say, unanimous. Justice Antonin Scalia somehow called the decision “a threat to American democracy”. If a small number of gay people choosing to marry is a threat to democracy, than democracy must be a very delicate flower indeed. 

I don’t know what this signifies, but nearly 60 sitting MPs are not running for re-election, including the bulk of what passes for Stephen Harper’s better ministers. One who is not is Dean Del Mastro, a former Conservative MP who was sentenced to one month in jail for violating Elections Canada laws. A photo ran in newspapers of Del Mastro doing the so-called ‘perp walk’ popularized by the U.S.; Del Mastro with his hands and legs shackled. Really, police? Do you really think this overweight former Member of Parliament, convicted of a white collar crime, needs the full shackles treatment? Why do we have to adopt so many of the worst of America’s habits? And speaking, again, of American habits, a group called HarperPAC (PAC is American political jargon for Political Action Committee) was formed to support the Conservatives this week, but it just as quickly was abandoned when the Tories said it wasn’t needed. Money has poisoned the American political process, so the death of the first PAC in Canada is cause for celebration. Mind you, it was formed in response to a less-obviously named group, Engage Canada, which supports Liberal and NDP causes. They have already produced their first anti-Conservative TV ad. What this all points out is that the Canadian election landscape, with a fixed election date, is changing in ways we didn’t anticipate.

RIP: Dick Van Patten, round-faced character actor best known as the dad from the old Eight is Enough TV show, at 86 … James Horner, one of the most successful, multi Oscar-nominated film-score composers in movie history (Titanic, Avatar, Braveheart, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind) at age 61 in a plane crash …  Don Featherstone, 79, creator of the kitsch classic pink flamingo lawn ornament … Patrick McNee, 93, the debonaire secret agent from the very, very cool British TV series, The Avengers. (Sidenote: Diana Rigg was his best partner; Emma Peel …. grrrr.)


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